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Earthquake and Tsunami in Chile

Arica, Chile (where I’m living right now) was not affected by this 8.8 Richter Scale quake (700 times stronger than the quake that hit Haiti). I felt a jolt in the night, like the earth took a step the the right, and all the dogs started barking, but that was it for the impact here. The tsunami didn’t damage things much but the sea was – and still is – quite wild. Two days later and the water is still mucky brown.

The news has had a devastating impact in subtle ways here and all across Chile. The people in Arica are walking around with tight faces as they wait to hear from loved ones in Santiago and Concepcion and other affected areas (electricity, phone lines and roads have been knocked out so there has been little of no contact from people down south since 5:00 a.m. Feb 27 – there is coverage coming from Santiago now, but not much from Concepcion.).

Many stores didn’t open for business yesterday – it looked like a ghost town downtown yesterday. All the restaurants and bars with TVs that were open were broadcasting the news and live footage of interviews with people in Santiago, while passersby stood silently outside, or sat without moving at tables inside, glued to the TV for hours on end.With no electricity, cell phone batteries will now be dead and people won’t be able to recharge so even when the cell phone networks and satellite stations are restored, people may not be able to call quickly and easily.

There has been very little news coming out of Concepcion, Chile’s second largest city, which hit harder than Santiago so that’s got people really worried. The official death toll is now at 700.

The ripple effects are hard to predict, but are starting to be felt here in Arica, and there will be more surprises to come, I’m sure. My flight from Arica to Bolivia was cancelled. Perhaps the plane was supposed to come from Santiago, where the international airport suffered heavy damage. No one answers the phone if you can make the call in the first place, so I don’t know for sure.

From the photos I’ve seen, it looks like Santiago is chock full with unsafe buildings now, if they haven’t collapsed already. Many of the major roads with overpasses are impassable as the overpasses and ramps have collapsed. The whole place will need to be rebuilt. People may be unable to work for months. The long impact on the economy could be really devastating. Too bad since Chile had come through the global crises very well, and had increased it’s economic standing. Chile was really starting to boom.

Here are some links about the situation in Chile right now:

www.emol.cl- for the latest news.
pics http://www.forrestkobayashi.com/496/20-incredible-chile-earthquake-pictures

Twitter is the hot spot for chile earthquake news, photos, videos and info.

Type this into the Google search bar: ‘twitter #chile’ or ‘#terremotochile’ and follow the links, or click here http://twitter.com

If you want to find someone who may have been affected by the quake:
Person Finder: Chile Earthquakechilepersonfinder

Sounds like the main organizations in a position and already helping Chile are:

Chilean Red Cross -http://twitter.com/CruzRojainforma

World Vision (they have 100 staff in Chile and are working with the Bolivian Air Force to fly in Blankets, tarps, plastic sheeting and clean water to the hardest hit areas) http://www.wvi.org/wvi/wviweb.nsf
(click on the Chile Map to read an interesting article comparing the Chile quake situation to the situation in Haiti)

This link is really interesting, I think:
Tidal Chart
http://www.ioc-sealevelmonitoring.org/station.php
Station = Arica_CL——If you choose Arica_CL as the station you can see how the tides have gone crazy as a result of the quake and tsunami (choosing ‘the last 7 day view’ is really revealing). The tides are coming every 40 minutes instead of every 6 hours. (The chart for Feb 28 looks like a spatter gun attack rather than a smooth rolling wave.)

Bye for now,
Marianne

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